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Saturday, July 28, 2007

CRA/AEG/MacFarlane Bring You "LA LIVE" $900 Million Condos and More -- Instead of What We Really Need To Revitalitze Downtown

***** EXCLUSIVE *****

CRA/AEG/MacFarlane Bring You "LA LIVE" $900 Million Condos and More -- Instead of What We Really Need To Revitalitze Downtown
By Zuma Dogg

[And watch this blog and for much more on this pompous, ego-driven, billion dollar white elephant waiting to happen.]

Just what we need...more five star hotels, botique shops, restaurants and entertainment along "Tumbleweed Connection". I know, I know...build it and they will come. FIRST, YOU BRAG IN LA WEEKLY THAT YOU PLAN ON BUILDING SO MUCH HIGH DENSITY HOUSING THAT TRAFFIC WILL COME TO A GRIDLOCK HAULT. THEN, YOU PLAN ON PEOPLE FLOCKING TO THE AREA TO GO TO PF CHANG'S? Riiiiiiiiight! I think the City should be sticking to basics; prove to the constituents that they can tie their shoelaces (accomplish something). How come the only people that do not see the problem with this are the ones making the money off the development?

Not to say that I am against more of these billion dollar downtown boondoggle projects by the CRA (Community Robbing A-holes)...but I hope an earthquake destroys this enitre project two-seconds after the ribbon cutting ceremony!

(Except, then the CRA would just be happy -- because then -- they could build it all over again, and make the money all over again! I thought the CRA was created to eliminate "blight". The areas where these projects are being constructed in do not always qualify as "blight" (if they). And City Council is not allowed to sit as state representatives as they are currently doing (working with the CRA on State land issues) on Grand Ave project according to attorney Chris Sutton. But as the DA's office can tell you, State and Charter law has never stopped 'em before.)


The Big Picture Game Plan for Downtown Los Angeles Development: How the city is going to try and buy its’ way to the head of the convention business line/Corner the convention market by any means necessary!

by Zuma Dogg

I guess if you raise enough money, or promise to raise enough money (and can convince the politicians you have a shot at doing so) you can just about build anything in this city, at any cost. (And I mean socially and economically, not the final price tag to developers and un-willing residents who end up paying for it, one way, or the other. (See tax hikes, fees, and skyrocketing property owner costs to help pay for what is ahead in the CRA/LA “Billion Dollar Plus” development club. (I’m not even gonna consider anything going on in this town with less than a billion dollar starting price. And all these projected costs are starting prices, because not only are the pueblos expenses skyrocketing, so are construction costs. And with all the planning, financing and construction delays; by the time you actually get the steamrollers rolling, and the developers start piling the cement 50 stories high anywhere they can get away with it, zoning and EIR restrictions, or not (and you think traffic is bad now), the cost has already jumped by at least a couple hundred million dollars; and the developer usually ends up running to the city for some kind of financial bail-out, claiming the project cannot carry on, otherwise.


SIDEBAR ABOUT THE CRA: The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA) of the City of Los Angeles is a public agency established to attract private investment into economically depressed communities, eliminate slums, abandoned or unsafe properties, and blight throughout Los Angeles. The CRA/LA was established by resolution of the Los Angeles City Council in 1948 pursuant to Community Redevelopment Law of the State of California (§§33000 et. Seq. of the Health and Safety Code).

The law specifically mandates that redevelopment agencies act to retain and expand the affordable housing stock. The law requires 20% of the revenues accruing to a redevelopment agency be set aside for affortable housing. CRA/LA has increased its contribution to 25% in projects adopted after January 1, 1994.

This means either tax breaks/subsidies, or flat out money out of the CRA or other fund, that would have gone to something else.

And when you review the business deals these developers cut with the city, you gotta watch for these “sunset clauses”. A typical “small print, sunset clause, bamboozle could include a promise for a certain amount of “affordable housing”. Then put in a sunset clause stating if CRA doesn’t come up with enough “increment money”, then they can cut back on the amount of affordable housing, accordingly.

And of course all the revenue streams the CRA plans on using to raise this money, are new and completely speculative based on things like “expected parking revenues after completion of phase one.” Well, what if those cars don’t start flying into those parking lots as quickly as they expect. And what if phase one gets delayed. Then the CRA can come back and claim, “Well, Gee…we didn’t raise the affordable housing money we promised the developer.” And then all the city gets are the million dollar plus units (and I mean plus) -- but not any of the affordable housing. YOU DON’T THINK THAT HAPPENS ALL THE TIME? JUST ASK JAN PERRY, MAYBE SHE CAN EXPLAIN IT TO YOU, SHE’S SO SMART AND LOOKING OUT FOR HER DISTRICT’S BEST INTEREST!

Plus, when it comes to giving developers CRA money to build affordable housing, remember, that money was already earmarked for affordable housing anyway. So, all we are doing is letting the billion dollar developers and their international financial backers profit on the building of the affordable housing, as well as the high-end, five star, luxury stuff!

Sorry, every other local developers in town, and to all their families…No business in town for you! MegaCorp, International (A conglomerate of billionaire developers, their corporate backers and international financial institutions can handle that element, too. (The rich get richer, and everyone else goes out of business and has to leave the state, or take up accommodations somewhere on the sidewalk.) Hey, if Home Depots can put all the local supply companies out of business, why not apply this concept to the entire development process, as well. (Man, I’m starting to think if you want any construction or supply business in this town, you gotta have your kids on council, or pay for the politicians election and buy ‘em into office, so they can pave the way (for you to pave), or something.

So now that we know a little about HOW what is about to get done, is about to get done – let’s review the “master plan” for downtown Los Angeles, Cahootsifornia:

My friend Al Ries (International/Fortune 500 consultant and co-author of “Marketing Warfare” and author of “Focus”) says a product (in this cast the city) must have a narrow, specialized focus that allows the consumer to associate you with a specific benefit. (Be known for something.) Starbucks pulled this off by focusing on “coffee”. Domino’s with “delivery”. (They actually created the whole Domino’s concept from the bottom up. In other words, “OK, we’re gonna be the guys who deliver it in 30 minutes, or less. And built the facilities and zoned the delivery areas accordingly.)

Applying this concept to municipalities, Vegas has gambling; Detroit/cars; Texas/oil; Ft. Lauderdale/Spring Break, whatever…

So what is LA known for? (Besides being the open-armed embracer for all who wanna be a part of this fun)…Entertainment.

But, I guess the mere production isn’t good enough anymore. (Cause the city waived all the tax revenues to prevent runaway productions. And, Hollywood can show a loss on “Star Wars”, “Spiderman” or “Pirates” through creative accounting, if they want to. Poor fellas. They can just barely scrape by.)

So instead of gambling, or auto manufacturing, we are focusing on buying our way to the top of the convention city business, focusing on providing “world-class”, “state of the art”, “nice as f*ck” theater and broadcast facilities, so the whole world can fly here for their music award shows, and House of Blues cable broadcasts, and movie screenings and premiers with all the techno-structure to accommodate a TRUE international press corp and broadcasters to beam the even all over the world.

Of course, we are already getting that business anyway. So looks like the Hollywood area, currently attracting these gigs/business are about to become the CD in an iPod world. (Maybe we can house the homeless in all those empty unused venues that are about to become the LA Forum of the Hollywood ET/Access Hollywood world.)

And how do you blow away the rest of the world, and wipe everything else off the map? (At least in the California race for convention business that we consistently lose big to San Fran, San Diego and Orange County. Cause you ain’t never gonna beat Vegas till you get gambling inside that Ritz Carlton, JW Marriott, Hilton and Mandarin Hotels coming to Downtown LA. Skid Row isn’t as good a tourist attraction as Danny Gans, free alcohol and blackjack tables, apparently.)

So let’s take a look at one of the two billion dollar bookend projects the city has online to give LA that steroid injection it needs to become the international tourist and convention magnet it must become; or else we really will become that third world city the critics are warning us about. (And in this global war, the city is gonna have to focus all resources and funding toward this “Hail Mary” attempt if there is any hope of pulling it off.)

So let’s see what one, of these two mixed-use, luxury condo, five star hotel, specialty/boutique shop, fancy restaurant upscale billion dollar wife babysitter projects has in store, with the only the community’s best interest in mind:


($2 Billion Starting Price)


Vegas, looks good: But at what expense. The place is like a Hollywood set. Everything looks good from the front, as you are walking down the strip. But the machine that built that shiny new skyline (and keeps it ticking) seems to have robbed the soul out of the community (average paying casino jobs with impossible hours) and turned Veags into the meth capital of the universe.

You got the crack heads walking the streets of the communities behind the casinos, as the wealthy international jet set crowd buys up all the luxury skyscrapers that gentrified the community.

LA doesn’t have gambling, but they still need a shiny new skyline for all the international billionaires to devour, or else we’ll sink even further as we continue to sit fifth on the totem pole behind lesser cities; San Fran, San Diego, Orange County and Vegas when it comes to the convention booking business.

If you look at the online brochures for these mulit-billion dollar CRA development projects, they all look just fantastic. Looks like a lot of fun time for tourists on a Saturday night. Only problem, these projects will rob the soul out of the community by sucking every available city cent, out of every nook and cranny of the city funds – and will wipe away all the locally owned and operated businesses in the area. (Like a giant Home Depot of restaurants, shops and entertainment.) No more local flare. No more of that "diverse culture" that city's like LA brag about. Just pre-fabricated, planned mixed-use mega-center tourist attractions. (And we all know how tired tourist-based living gets.)

The little everyday amenities that are available, will fold, and you will be forced to not only commute for work, but for grocery shopping and everything else. (Except high end boutique specialty items, or a five star tea part at the Ritz Carlton.)

If the billionaire developers and their mega-international banking partners realize their dreams and fantasies, Downtown Los Angeles is about to try and “buy” its’ way into the international convention business, attempting to wipe everything else off the map. It hasn’t worked before. But this time, I think they will continue to throw enough money at the problem to at least get the stuff built. [At what expense to investors and the community remains to be seen. But it will look great, and be a fantastic addition to all the investor's corporate portfolio.]

Stuff like the Ritz-Carlton Condos, fancy restaurants, special event theaters, upscale shops. Everything a CEOs wife could want to keep her busy while her billionaire hubby gives a keynote at the convention. All the employees/attendees…well I guess they can sleep down the street with everyone else on Skid Row who can’t afford the five star convention accommodations.

Bottom line: The fix is in, and a few people, with the most money have spoken. They can say the number one priority is to fix the schools, reduce crime, manage traffic congestion, build more affordable housing, clean up skid row and create more high paying jobs…but that’s all bullsh*t.

The number one priority of the City of Los Angeles, as revealed by Villaraigosa and CM Jan Perry is to turn downtown LA into an upscale convention region, flanked by two competing luxury hotel, condo, restaurant, shopping, entertainment and theater projects; Grand Ave and LA Live, to create the Vegas like atmosphere to help pull in some business for that big white elephant convention center sitting near the Staples Center (that was supposed to solve the problem).

And remeber, Janice Hahn also wants to build another convention center near LAX. So I sure hope businesses start having A LOT MORE conventions, instead of less, as travel and convention costs continue to rise, and electronic communication make them easier to cut back on.) Because now all these billions and billions being invested into a Downtown convention area will have to compete with a more convenient and more economically feasible Janice Hahn LAX Convention Center.

And LA is banking on all these downtown tourists and conventions to have huge convention budgets. Because everything is five star, therefore you will be booking your employees at the Ritz, JW Marriott or Mandarin Hotel. (Or one of the other cheap ass hotels like Bonaventure or Westin.) Not building any affordable hotels, like they aren’t building any affordable housing, so they have just priced themselves out of the convention business.

Here’s more on LA LIVE, the answer to all your problems, with a starting price of over $2 billion. [ZD legislative review in brackets.]

LA LIVE: In September, 2005, the Mayor attended the ground breaking ceremony for Phase 1, scheduled for completion in 2007. [Oh good, I see we’re right on track! Look at the delays, and they haven’t even started.]

L.A. LIVE will also be the region's most in-demand and busiest hospitality location [Oh! I guess the facts and statistics are in!?!?], featuring 260,480 square feet of conference center and ballroom facilities [good we should put the homeless there, since it will sit empty most of the time]; eight world-class restaurants [GOOD, cause we’re turning into a third-world country], including the ESPN Zone [Oh, I almost thought it said EDUCation Zone], Flemings Prime Steakhouse [no transfats please, that would be bad for the City] and Wine Bar, Katsuya, The Farm of Beverly Hills, Yard House, Rosa Mexicana and dining concepts developed by Wolfgang Puck [actual diversity, if you can afford Wolfgang], Celestino Drago and others [things no one said they wanted or needed];

a 100,000-square-foot special events deck [for your shady special event fee waivers]; the famous Lucky Strike Lanes bowling center [I think bowling alleys downtown named after cigarettes are gonna get the mayor re-elected]; the celebrity-owned Conga Room [I was against it until I heard it was “celebrity owned”…I’m sure they’ll feed homeless children that won’t have affordable housing now]; and the one-of-a-kind Grammy Museum saluting the history of music and the genre's best known awards show. [And we all know there is nothing more needed in this city right now than a museum paying tribute to awards shows. Meanwhile, how about finishing the Children’s Museum, first?]

All of the aforementioned facilities will be centered around NOKIA Plaza LA Live, a 40,000-square-foot outdoor event space. [Maybe Zev can put all the skid row homeless there, instead of those mountain campgrounds the NIMBYS are fighting. HEY…I bet Kaiser could get away with illegal dumping there, cause it’s private space!]

Office of the Mayor
City of Los Angeles

January 12, 2006

MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA SUPPORTS PARTNERSHIP TO ENSURE CONSTRUCTION OF CONVENTION CENTER HEADQUARTERS HOTEL, LINCHPIN OF LA Live! Downtown Project [How do you insure these ensurences? Hopefully these promises are more credible than campaign promises.]

(Los Angeles) – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today joined Tim J. Leiweke, President and CEO of AEG as he announced AEG and KB Home will partner to finance the development of the Convention Center Headquarters Hotel, the linchpin LA Live! downtown project. The Mayor strongly supports the partnership which will accelerate building the Convention Center Headquarters Hotel.

“This partnership will ensure [at least promises, if not delivers] that LA Live and the hotel not only come to fruition [or at least fantasy] but will make Los Angeles the entertainment capital of the West Coast,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. [Is that all it takes? One hotel!]

“Furthermore, [don’t say ‘furthermore’ you haven’t really said anything yet] the Convention Center Headquarters Hotel is absolutely necessary if Los Angeles wants to have a convention center that is able to compete with other convention centers in the region.” [If the nation’s second biggest City isn’t even competitive with the region…save your time and money, now. This isn’t the answer. (No casinos!) Everyone visits and moves to LA because they like LA: So you want to completely change into being just like everywhere else. ZONE AWAY, A-HOLES!]

The AEG and KB Home partnership will ensure [at least hope] that the four-star hotel will become a reality for downtown Los Angeles. [But that reality may not include enough demand or occupancy.]

LA Live! A multi-use development, is critical to the revitalization of downtown Los Angeles [developers’ bank accounts] and fulfills the Mayor’s vision to make downtown one of the most recognized and attractive areas not only in the City but in the country as well. [Designed in his own image! And by the way, this doesn’t fulfill it. That happens when it is completed and operational.]

When [If] completed, it will serve to attract more than 10 million visitors [How? I don’t see] which in turn will infuse $9 billion into the economy and create more than 25,000 jobs. [That’ll be the day that Jim Morrison walks into the CRA office to apply for some of the mandatory affordable housing that those sunset clauses have a way of setting on.]

The project covers six city blocks in the South Park neighborhood and will be the signature of the neighborhood. Restaurants, nightclubs, sports bars, [instead of the types of amenities people will still have to go to Silverlake or Pasedena to get] high density housing, [yeah, The Ritz Carlton Condo; that’s what they are calling “housing’] a 7,100 seat state-of-the art theater, radio and television broadcast facilities [glad we are building those. Maybe they can build some practical housing and needed community amenities]; offices and the Convention Headquarters Hotel are all components of this new entertainment district. [And “entertaining” is the big crisis the city is facing! I heard Bratton say just the other day, “We can’t entertain our way out of this.” I tend to disagree. And I happen to know from inside sources, entertaining are also big issues at LAUSD and all the social services. And the middle class being pushed out of town in the other parts of town...they demand more entertaining, too!]

The hotel [Ritz Carlton and Five Star Marriott, nothing most tourists or business conventions will be able to afford] will have 1,100 rooms as well as meeting, ballroom and amenity space of approximately 185,000 square feet. [To go along with all the convention space, already not being used, because it's too expensive to get downtown from the airport -- and too much traffic -- and, well...skid-you-know-what' in addition to the new convention center Janice Hahn wants to build near the airport. I hope people that go to conventions start having a lot of babies!]

Mayor Villaraigosa broke ground on LA Live! on September 15, 2005

The Convention Center Headquarters Hotel will feature spectacular rooms that will provide views to the Westside and downtown skyline. [Overlooking all the problems these projects not only won’t solve, but add to.]

2. AEG/LA Live Specific Plan Amendments (City Planning Commission)
LA Live

AEG is developing a downtown Los Angeles sports and entertainment destination, a 4-million square foot development adjoining The STAPLES Center and The Los Angeles Convention Center. [And you are telling us, instead of trying to keep it secret? Remember what happened last time you used the words, "AEG" and "STAPLES Center" regarding development? The Valley still haven't cooled down from that. And this will remind them again!]

The multi-faceted entertainment destination will feature an exciting mix of entertainment venues, restaurants, retail commercial and residential spaces, television and radio broadcast studios and concert spaces. [Can families who parents have to work downtown, but can't find housing within eighty miles crash in the radio studios when they aren't being used? Or maybe Clear Channel can build some affordable housing in the area?]

Highlights of the district will include a 40,000-square foot outdoor plaza, a ESPN broadcast and restaurant facility, Regal Theatres and Club NOKIA at L.A. Live. [And not ONE thing of public benefit.]

NOKIA Theatre at L.A. Live

NOKIA Theatre at L.A. Live will be a premier mid-sized music/theatre venue featuring state-of-the-art acoustics and seating for 7,000. [Sounds perfect for a James Taylor perfomance at a David Geffen benefit. Or some other wine and cheese event.]

NOKIA Theatre at L.A. Live will look to host the Latin GRAMMY® Awards and ESPY Awards, as well as numerous other productions from VH1, MTV, and BET. [In that case, they are only taking business from other nearby venues? So how does that help revitalize? Sounds like it will only cannibalize? Hey, Garcetti...make them cut you in as Council President, since it will be tanking your own districts' investment.]

It is also available for corporate shareholder meetings, product launches, and seminars. [Good the shareholders can discuss how the project they are having the meeting in is weakening the local economy and their revenues will be going down, unless they are targeting the poor, or rich international tourists.]

Club NOKIA at L.A. Live

In an effort to bring the best in live music and entertainment to Los Angeles, NOKIA and AEG are joining forces to create Los Angeles' most renowned club for live music and cultural events. [Why is the city making this much of an effort to entertain? Why not this much effort to educate?]

The stand-alone club, which will accommodate up to 2,400 patrons, will feature up and coming music acts, bands, and cultural shows.

The club may also be used to host private parties and corporate events.
[Sounds like this whole project is the “home depot” of regional entertainment. It’ll put everyone else out of business, then you’ll only have one big, sanitized “Promonade/Citywalk-style” tourist infused entertainment scene. And we all know that gets tired after about one month.]

NOKIA Plaza (Welcome to Nokiatown, CA)

Situated in the heart of the nation's entertainment capital, NOKIA Plaza provides a 40,000-square foot open-air plaza that will serve as the central meeting place for Los Angeles' Sports and Entertainment District. [And there’s no more important goal the City should be focused on, toward the goal of uplifting the community, and society at large as Sports and Entertainment. I think the City should be doing MORE in this area, instead of leaving it to the private sector/No CRA involvement.]

The Plaza will serve as one of the district's key anchors, providing a broadcast venue featuring giant LED screens as well as a red carpet site for special events. [IF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES WERE A RESTAURANT, IT WOULD SERVE NOTHING BUT DESSERT!]

The NOKIA Theatre venues are part of the "NOKIA Unwired" marketing platform, which brings live music to fans in both the NOKIA Theater venues and on TV through "NOKIA Presents Hard Rock Live" on MTV. [How about something that brings education to students of LAUSD, not the crap they play on MTV! And F*CK NOKIA! I'm already sick to my stomach from seeing the word, "Nokia". Why don't you just put up a big billboard at LAX: "Welcome to Latham/AEG/Broad's Las Nokia-Disney/Universal, California!"]

Hotel and Condominiums

A 54-story, 1000-room convention "headquarters" hotel that will combine the JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton brands and 216 luxury condominiums - The Residences at The Ritz Carlton [How about building something people planning conventions can afford. I thought you wanted convention business? Five star hotels are for rich individuals. Maybe the CEOs will stay there. How about everyone else? Gotta build those, too, renaissance planners!]

The project, considered the largest development in Los Angeles' history, will be host to an exciting mix of venues and facilities. [At the same time all the middle-income folks are fleeing the area, to be replaced by new low income immigrants. Plus wealthy international immigrant land investors/speculators/developers.]

"On behalf of AEG and all of our partners, we are here today to break ground for the largest and most important development in the history of Downtown Los Angeles [if you say so, although Eli Broad would beg to differ, I’m sure] , LA Live," said Timothy J. Leiweke, President & CEO, AEG. "This project is real, this project is happening and this project is important. LA Live will give Los Angeles the ability to attract the best and most important events for our city." [Keep trying to convince yourself. Call Stuart Smalley, maybe he can read you an affirmation, himself.]

"Most importantly, our company's investment of nearly $1 billion coupled with an additional $3.5 billion commitment from the other private investors in LA Live and the surrounding downtown residential district has brought this city a fully privatized, fully financed and fully entitled development. A $4.2 billion development that does not require any public subsidy" Leiweke added. [Are you willing to put that in writing?]

Gladstone's 4 Fish, Junior's Deli Boys, Il Moro, Katsuya, and New Zealand Natural will provide a variety of established dining opportunities for LA Live visitors. Agreements with P.F. Chang's and French 75 are in the final stages of negotiations. [Besides the few times a year J Lo or Santana shows up at The Conga Room for all the VIPs to attend, anything your average city resident can take their family to without taking out another mortgage?]

Upper floors will house luxury suites to accommodate visiting sports teams, headline performers, and upscale guests. The hotel will also include up to 111 fully serviced luxury condominium units on the top floors offering 24-hour valet and concierge staff, food and room services, and other amenities. The 1.1 million sq. ft. hotel will be developed by Wolff-Apollo and designed by Gensler. [Looks like they’ve solved the NBA housing crisis! And now Elton John has a new place to rave about next time he’s in town! And I’m sure the rest of the voting public couldn’t be happier about that!]

The hotel is expected to significantly boost efforts to attract key conferences, exhibitions, conventions and corporate meetings to the convention center, strengthening the entire Los Angeles region's tourism and new business opportunities. [You expected everyone to move into all those lofts and businesses everyone is already moving out of, cause you haven’t put this much effort into the actual solutions, that don’t included luxury accommodations for Shaq when he flies into town to beat the Lakers.] City general funds will not be used to finance the hotel's development. [I HOPE NOT!!! Thanks for bragging about not using City money to build a Paris Hilton Hotel. City funds will not be used to build any affordable housing. Why don’t you mention that, too!]

At the groundbreaking, Leiweke announced several new, major l.a. live business partners: [Lots of business partners, not too many community and social improvement partners.]

ESPN will create a regional headquarters and sports entertainment venue in a unique 120,000 sq. ft. broadcast studio that will be the home for a number of live and taped programs. Included in this building will be the ESPN Zone - a multi-level restaurant, sports bar, and game area. An approximately 10,000 sq. ft. radio broadcast center is also planned for live radio in an adjacent building.

Regal Entertainment Group will develop a 90,000 sq. ft. cinema complex with 3,700 seats and featuring digital sound, stadium seating, and state-of-the-art projection systems. This flagship theater will serve as a new venue for movie premieres and special screenings. [So long Hollywood, moving the “premier and screenings” over here. Again, this won’t generate more business to the area. Just move it away from other areas. But I’m glad Leo Decaprio’s quality of life is about to improve. I can think of no better use of this prime real estate than for occasional “premiers and specials”. Can LAUSD use the space to teach kids in between those important special occasions?]

The GRAMMY® Museum will be housed in a 28,000 sq. ft. space designed for a permanent display of music genres and the science of recorded music as well as new interactive presentations recognizing past and president GRAMMY® winning artists. [How about an actual cultural arts center where kids actually learn how to play an instrument, not just look at statues of Beyonce’.]

"Sports and entertainment often converge in the diverse city of Los Angeles and establishing a major presence there is a very positive step in the long-term growth of our company," [but not the long-term growth of our kids or community] said George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports and Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks. [I don’t know who has their hooks in deeper in this town, Disney or Universal? Mickey Mouse is actually the real mayor of LA] “Originating more programming and extending our brand with an ESPN Zone will create a stronger ESPN. [TOP, TOP, TIPPY TOP City priority and philanthropic benefit to the community!] Given the success of our past collaborations with AEG [and how the valley wanted to secede from LA] and the scope and promise of LA Live, we are eager to expand our L.A.-based operations." [And I’m glad the city can help facilitate your eagerness for expansion!]

"Diversity is the lifeblood of our vibrant city. The Conga Room is proud to partner with LA Live to showcase its unique brand of Latin American culture and music," said Jimmy Smits, co-owner, The Conga Room. [Yeah, a Latin American bar, real diverse. Not enough Latino culture. That’s the diversity missing in this town! And by being a specific culture, it’s not diverse, idiots! Call it what it is…Jimmy Smits is a famous actor: Let him open the bar. And to all the bar owners about to go out of business. Go into acting.]

"Hilton is pleased that we have been selected to manage this new hotel, particularly since it is located in our corporate back yard. [Glad we could make life easier for you!]

"Great cities attract great conventions and visitors. [Yeah, that’s why we’ve losing out] This Hilton hotel and LA Live will establish Downtown Los Angeles as a world class destination. [I thought the Omni/Bonaventure/Westin/Staples/Convention Center/Etc was supposed to do that? I say you do that through building a great “real” city.] Our team is absolutely committed to bringing this hotel to life and transforming Los Angeles into one of the most attractive destinations for conventions in the nation, [that’s the same kind of optimistic speech the Captain of the Titanic said about the Titanic just before it sank]" said Lew Wolff, Chairman and CEO, Wolff Urban Management, which is co-developing the Los Angeles Convention Center Headquarters Hotel.

• Numerous high-end fine dining, casual and ethnic restaurants as well as nightclubs, coffee shops, and bistros which will provide a rich mixture of high quality food and settings, providing visitors with a true "Taste of L.A.;" [Is that the taste of LA? I guess Canter’s, Pinks, Roscoes, Baja Fresh, Big Daddy’s Venice, all the city’s authentic Mexican restaurants…you’re not high-end and fine…you’re not true. You think a billionaire developers wife wants to eat at any place the rest of the world can afford?]

• 4,000 residential apartments and loft condominiums within three blocks of the sports and entertainment district are under construction or in the planning stages. [How close is it to grocery stores, repair shops, cleaners, schools, gyms, after school programs, social services, neighborhood council meetings?]
"Today Los Angeles is reaffirming its position as the entertainment capital of the world. LA Live will bring a vibrant sports and entertainment district to Downtown Los Angeles with exciting new places for families to dine and watch a movie, concert or game. [But nothing to do, and no where to feed your kids on a budget.] The entire City of Los Angeles will benefit from the thousands of jobs it will create and billions of dollars it will pump into our local economy," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. ["Entire city will benefit?" OK Mayor, now I’m gonna sue your ass for fraudulent claims.]

"The LA Live sports and entertainment district is a boom for our local economy and the world-class facility will continue downtown's unprecedented revitalization efforts," said State Senator Gil Cedillo, who represents the area where the project will be developed. [So that’s how you know this is a bad deal.]

LA LIVE restaurants, theaters, landscaped courtyard, and media headquarters are certain to continue our efforts to reinvigorate our city center and make it an even more attractive destination for tourists and local families alike. Additionally, the project brings a wealth of quality job opportunities and profound economic development to the South Park neighborhood, surrounding areas, and the city as a whole," said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, who represents the 9th Council District where the project will be located. [Quality job opportunities, like construction worker or waiter once it is open. Notice how Jan's paragraph was the most pompous, grand, politi-speak in this whole massive post? Take your nose out of the air Jan, you have nothing to be arrogant about?]

"There is no more defining influence on the future of Downtown L.A. than the LA Llive development by AEG," said Mark Liberman, president & CEO of LA INC. The Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It presents LA with the promise of a wholly new and exciting visitor destination in the center of the second largest city in the country. Our industry is eager to work closely with AEG, its partners and the City to make the vision presented today a reality. There's no hiding the fact that what we've seen today can be a convention sales organization's dream come true." [What about the constituents’ of Los Angeles’ dreams come true? I guess one man’s dream, is the rest of our nightmare.]

MACFARLANE: While San Francisco-based MacFarlane invests money for the California Public Employees' Retirement System and other big clients. [In speculative, partially planned billion dollar city projects, that assumes enough risk to trigger all the warning flags to investors. Mainly, cost over-runs and inefficiency that will plague profitability. Either that, or they will have to come running to the city for a bail-out.]

"Downtown has been the redheaded stepchild with braces compared to the Westside," Wise said. [And I think now is the perfect time for the city to attempt to have Downtown swim upstream, against public will.]

"This is really a quantum leap forward in terms of credibility about downtown's revitalization," he added. [The “quantum leap” is the announcement with is only a leap “forward” in terms of credibility…it doesn’t restore it.]

Owners of downtown's Bonaventure Hotel tried to stop AEG's hotel plans in court, arguing that AEG will have an unfair competitive advantage because it will receive financial assistance from the city. The suit was later dropped. [Not because it isn’t unfair. But because they City gave in to Bonaventure “tick for tack” demands.]

The deal approved by the City Council calls for AEG to receive a rebate of at least $246 million in the hotel bed taxes it is expected to generate during the first 25 years of operation. In addition, the project is being given a $5-million grant from the city redevelopment agency and a rebate of $4 million in building permit fees.

Those concessions from the city were essential to getting the hotel started, Leiweke said. [I thought the big deal about this was it was completely funded by private money and how it is so successful that they don’t need any help?]

San Francisco-based MacFarlane, which invests in urban real estate developments, will provide as much as $400 million in financing, said Chief Executive Victor MacFarlane. The company also may invest in the $2-billion Grand Avenue retail, residential and office project set to begin construction north of Staples on Bunker Hill later this year. [And Antonio may run for re-election.]

"We'll probably invest in the two largest bookends downtown," he said. [And two riskiest, bookends, waiting to become a price over-run nightmare as construction costs soar, and delays allow prices to continue to skyrocket. And these increases are not factored in. So, all of these figures are just minimum starting prices, like an opening bid on ebay.]

Also helping fund construction of the hotel are the expected sales of the condominiums, which are priced at $1.5 million to $6 million. [Oh no, all those shabby, affordable $1.5 units will bring down the value of the $6 million dollar units. Can’t we raise the prices on the lower priced units to help keep property values up. I mean, really!]

Buyers have already made deposits on nearly half of the units, Leiweke said. [Where are these people coming from? Must be flying them in from somewhere else?]

"He has made a huge investment in this community in infrastructure, in entertainment and in sports, and those three drive our economy," said L.A. developer Steve Soboroff, a former adviser to ex-Mayor Richard Riordan, who worked with Anschutz on the Staples Center and other projects. [Sports and entertainment drive our economy? That’s a problem then, if you ask me? No wonder our community is in trouble if that’s what drives it. You forgot to throw in junk food and porno.]

Hotel tax rebates fuel anger:

The 54-story hotel will put the city's downtown convention center in the running for business that now goes elsewhere, said Jack Kyser, chief economist at the development corporation.

But the up-to-$290 million in hotel tax rebates that the Los Angeles City Council approved for the property last year drew the ire of many Angelenos.

RE: LA LIVE (from website link above)

Q: What market forces are driving such development activity downtown?

CM Jan Perry: There is a perception of enthusiasm for this market. [That’s quite a bit of of land dedication (including public) and money (including public and pension) going toward a mere “perception of enthusiasm”. (Sounds like a Larry David spin-off show.)]

Jan Perry: It should be a catalytic project for activating the surrounding streets [you mean congest them with gridlock traffic (see Century City), improving and enhancing the appeal of the convention center worldwide. It should increase our convention business enormously. It’s a critical project that we must get built. [I didn’t “Convention Business” showed up as any of the solutions in all those Ad Hoc Reports on crime, homelessness, traffic and other citywide problems we are trying to solve through prudent city planning. All of these billion dollar projects, built under the guise of “improving and enhancing” (instead of actually solving) …

Q: Jan, your council office has been incredibly successful in advancing the renaissance of downtown, but what have you not been as able to do re development?

CM Perry (YUK!): The biggest loss has been our inability to develop long-term and permanent housing for people who are homeless. For example, tying together the high level of development activity on the Figueroa corridor, using that tax increment within the boundaries of the area to create a lot of new construction. I’m not talking about transitional hosing. I’m talking about long-term housing to give people some stability in their lives. [Yeah, and I don’t see how any of this addresses any of that?]

Q: Two last questions. What is reasonable time-line for building out L.A. Live?

CM YUK: Well, I think you can use the first Staples Center project as a benchmark for how long it takes AEG to do construction. I believe that project was done in two years or less. [Yeah, Jan, but that was just one building, although a big one. This is like the Universal City Walk, plus housing and hotels? Why are you using apples for an oranges timeline? And that was then…skyrocketing cost will continue to cause these projects to become expensive bridges, burning behind you. Hope it doesn’t catch you, and shut down the projects. After all, look at the Los Angeles Children’s Museum. Couldn’t even get that done without City Council having to approve an emergency “loan”.]

Q: In the next mayoral campaign, what should the candidates be addressing?

YUK: Economic development—bringing projects online that will create a larger market for jobs at all levels and making sure we keep pace with this emerging market for housing. We also must look at the city’s infrastructure, what needs to be done and how to pay for it. [I agree, we should do that, no these (Grand/Live).]
City requirements dictate that AEG include a 20% affordable housing component in the project. To meet that, AEG has given $8 million to the YWCA [How will the other religions feel about giving the money to another religious organization. After all, it is a “Christian” Association] to develop a new campus for their Job Corps facilities and 200 two-bedroom apartments for very low-income program participants. The seven-story, $43 million structure will rise on the block bounded by 12th, Pico, Figueroa and Flower. An additional $2 million CRA grant helped acquire the land. [City money for private project, y’all!?!? I wanna sit on there whenever I want!]

RE: GRAND In April, 2006, the Mayor unveiled Phase 1 of this $2 billion project, which began construction in 2006 and ends in 2010.

(310) 928-7544


Anonymous Anonymous said:

And who is rumored to have hosted a Jack Weiss for City Attorney fundraiser?

Tim Leiweke of AEG.

The invitation apparently read:

For an evening reception
To meet and support
Councilmember Jack Weiss
Candidate for City Attorney
Thursday, June 28, 2007
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
9050 Oriole Way
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Contribution $1000

A little conflict with Weiss on PLUM and AEG having numerous projects before him?

July 29, 2007 5:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Zuma, is every post of yours gonna advertise for your executive strategy blog?

July 29, 2007 7:12 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

First of all, it's not "advertising" because there is no selling or sales involved. However, I do plan on "promoting" the new site by including links in other stories for a little bit. I hope less than 24 hours hasn't been too much for you. If so, I would simply suggest scrolling past all future ZD threads.

July 29, 2007 7:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Zuma, can't believe you're still beating this tired drum: isn't the Brady Westwater article in current CityWatch, decimating every aspect of this pathetic excuse for an "expose," and which you yourself acknowledged, enough to make you embarrassed enough at your incompetence to stop?

Not that it would matter, except that new people keep reading this blog, and have no idea of what is really going on downtown. Can't you try for once to put your own ego and narcicism aside for ONCE?

Your regulars and even former supporters are realizing this about you and abandoned you in droves.

You were fine to them to use as an amusement, distraction, the lunatic who blazes into City Hall in a loud smelly mess and creates a spectacle, but when you try to be serious, you're even more idiotic than when you play Court Jester.

July 29, 2007 8:45 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The CRA got a new director just a few months ago, and she's been great so far: a Harvard-educated lawyer who grew up in a modest hood, youngest of 5 kids, can relate to working poor and wants to ensure that downtown has affordable units for the secretaries and such, not just the execs. And for every one-room occupancy hotel they tear down, she's making sure they deliver on replacement housing.
She is working closely with Goldberg on this and in general, a "planning vision," and oversight.

You haven't even interviewed her, ZD; I'm not going to give you her name or say more here, you should have done the work. It all sounds promising, at least on the right track.

July 29, 2007 9:32 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

Didn't quite feel decimated anything.

Here's my reply to his naive whining: (although he had tons of great things to say)

Click here for my reply

Click here for more on Grand Ave from a comedy perspective (A review of the business plan.)

July 29, 2007 9:33 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Mr. Dogg would like to remind you that any concerns over the business structure and conflicts of interest over this project are bigger than any CRA executive. I am very glad to hear good things of the new director.

This is about the use of public trust and turning over to private corporations and tying the city in for all the risk, when the people didn't approve the City and County to become Donald Trump's "The Apprentice".

And it is illegal to have City Council sitting as a State body as they are on this project.

read: http://www.grandaveproject.blogspot.com/

July 29, 2007 9:39 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

I wish to invite everyone to an early morning recepion in Honor of one Mister Zuma Dogg aka Dave Elliott, to be held at...hm, let's see...the park across from the Biltmore and next to the L A A C, you know, the one no one goes to right now because it's full of homeless bums, gangsters, thieves and miscellaneous sociopaths...


Bring the equivalent of tomorrow's Bonnie Doone rations, 6:30 a.m.

Oh, no need to RSVP.

July 30, 2007 1:26 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Zuma, you were indeed obliged to interview the head of the CRA, since you not only attack the CRA in a rant but also attribute deliberately deceitful and underhanded tactics to it. If you were in fact trained in any remote way as a journalist, you would know that if you attack someone you should at least make an attempt to get their side. You did a similar thing in making it seem the principals were disagreeing with each other, when in fact they're in perfect agreement, just pointed out different aspects of the project.

Of course, it's really the Weekly's fault as much as it is yours: they have no business letting an inarticulate and unwashed, in mind and person, writing articles on something of significance to the city, just because they're too cheap to pay.

July 30, 2007 12:24 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:


Dude...try and pull yourself together. I made all the calls you wanted me to make, and am hostage to who calls me back or takes my call.

I can't help it if Bill said something that conflicted with Eli. It's not like I was trying to trip them up...it was the most basic of questions...I'm sorry for printing their exact words in reference to the same issue.

Are you concerned over the issues and concerns of this project, or the point that I didn't speak to the person at the CRA that you wanted me too (even though I spoke with the person from the CRA assigned to the project). Or the side note that Eli's words were in conflict with Bill's. (And again, all I did was print each of their own comments. EXCUSE ME IF I DIDN'T TELL BILL WITTE HOW TO ANSWER A QUESTION ABOUT HIS OWN PROJECT!?!?!?

I'll be sure to make sure everyone's comments are more in alignment next time and if the President doesn't return my call, I won't print the article.

Got ya. So I guess THAT'S the problem, you crybaby...not the use of public money, land, time, tax breaks, legal violations, public trust handed to private developers, the city deciding they are "in business" with private developers from NYC...and that no one decided that the services, housing and amenities needed are five star mandarin hotels, self-proclaimed "specialty boutique" shops and Ritz-Carlton condos...YES, RITZ CARLTON CONDOS!!!

Why don't you go write your own article and blog it and do something with it. I don't have a patent pending on writing about Grand Ave. I would love to read it.

July 30, 2007 2:15 PM  

Blogger Zuma Dogg said:

Some jealous crybaby loser said..."you were indeed obliged to interview the head of the CRA, since you not only attack the CRA in a rant but also attribute deliberately deceitful and underhanded tactics to it."

WHERE IS THIS IN THE ARTICLE??? We are talking about the article, right? Because that's what I was interviewing people for, right? This is the planet earth we are limiting the playing field to, correct? And please, also, show me the "DELIBRERATELY DECEITFUL and UNDERHANDED tactics."

MAN, you better put some tin foil around your head. You are really suffering from so much stress, fear and anger that you are deleting and filtering your enitre experience of reality causing you to suffer from distortions of reality.

Take a deep breath...realize that you can take back control of your life...YOU are responsible for your own success and can create your own article on any topic you'd like, and call anyone you choose and luckily the free market is not a zero sum gain and neither is the media and your success or failure is not in any way related to anything done by zuma dogg. so instead of focusing all your attention on the efforts of someone else, why not go contribute in a real and meaningful way. Crying about ZD's article is like wasting all your energy trying to push a brick wall. At the end of the day, you wasted all your time and energy and there was no outcome to be achieved. When ZD shoots his loose cannon mouth off, at least he's trying to expose fraud, waste and abuse in hopes of increasing efficiency. (Something ACTIONABLE...for example, if I complain before council about 'special event fee waiver abuse", and they stop doing the things I was complaining about, that is toward an outcome.

Go write your own article.

July 30, 2007 2:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

OK, sports fans, here's my suggestion:

I have been a constant critic of Zuma Dogg since I abhor his spelling, his grammar, but mostly his basic misunderstanding of the political process and how it all works.

I find it grating to read him and watch him commit the most elemental mistakes in understanding why things have to be handled in certain ways to achieve objectives.

But, I notice, in reading his readers' comments, that most are related, not to the subject matter, but to his stupidity or arrogance, or his personal self agrandisement.

So. let's cut it out and let him post stupidity without comment; in short, boycott the idiot until he gets tired of talking to himself.

If we can control ourselves, it will be more telling than anything we could say, to see his posts go uncommented upon.

So, I'm done commenting on his posts. I hope you'll join me in this experiment, which may illustrate to mayor Sam the futility of having a fool like this on his otherwise quite cogent, relevant blog.

July 31, 2007 6:25 PM  

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